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  • Are more common in Northern Ontario.
  • Are peat-covered wetlands.
  • Contain vegetation that has a general lack of nutrients due to the high water table.
  • Contain surface water that is strongly acidic because of the decay of plant material due to poor drainage.
  • May support trees but are dominated by peat/Sphagnum moss.
  • Are the least productive of all wetland types.


Bogs have no flow-through of water and are the most likely to have a peat covered mat.

Bogs occur in poorly drained freshwater regions. They are usually found in the boreal forest and tundra regions located more in the north.

Muskoka Heritage Areas
classified as having a bog:
* are also classified as being provincially significant


Bogs Characteristics

Water in bogs contain very little or no dissolved oxygen. It is very stagnant and acidic with no flow through. The water is usually a reddish-brown color.


Vegetation in a Bog

Bogs are the least productive wetland type. There are few nutrients available for new plant growth because plant and animal matter does not fully decompose. Some dominant species are Sphagnum moss, Black spruce and tamarack as they can tolerate such rough conditions.

Peat is partially decomposed moss and plant material. Peat can be mined from bogs and used in gardens as a fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Some very interesting carnivorous plants live in bogs, including Pitcher plants, Venus fly traps, and sundews.


Wildlife Inhabitants in a Bog

  • Warblers
  • Sparrows
  • many migrants
  • Winter finches
  • Evening and Pine grosbeaks
  • White-winged crossbills
  • Pine siskins
  • Common redpolls
  • Purple finches

There are many species found in a bog, both common and rare. Raccoons, Striped skunks and woodchucks are found on slopes, while Eastern chipmunks, Short-tailed shrews and Grey squirrels are found in low, damp woods. 

Among the shrubs on the floating bog live Eastern cottontails and in the moss, though seldom seen, are Masked and Smoky shrews. Muskrats are also found in bogs.

American toads also live among the shrubs on the sphagnum mat.

The following butterflies, moths and other insects are found in bogs because of the acidic bog plants:

  • Pitcher-plant moth
    A bog is ideal for turtles and frogs, especially:
    • Painted turtles
    • Snapping turtles
    • Blanding's turtles
    • Spotted turtles
    • Green frog
    • Leopard frog
    • Wood frog
    • Chorus frog
    • Gray tree frog
    • Spring peeper
  • Bog copper butterfly
  • Bog elfin
  • Bog crickets
  • Mosquitoes
  • Black flies


MNR Wetland Fact Sheets


What are Wetlands? 
Wetlands are defined as lands that are saturated with water long enough to cause the formation of waterlogged (hydric) soils and the growth of water-loving (hydrophytic) or water-tolerant plants.

Wetlands are Important 
Surface water runoff may contain sediments, excess nutrients, viruses and pathogens and/or a variety of chemicals. A wetland acts like a filter to remove sediments, absorb nutrients and biologically change many chemicals into less harmful forms.

Significant Wetlands and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System 
Provincially Significant Wetlands are those areas identified by the province as being the most valuable. They are determined by a science-based ranking system known as the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System.

Wetland Restoration 
Ontario is home to approximately 24% of Canada's wetlands and 6% of the world's wetlands. Estimates of wetland extent in Ontario range from 24 million to 29 million hectares, or 22-27% of the area of the province.